|David with Harp from the Paris Psalter, 10th century - Wikipedia|
Miserere Mei, Deus (Have mercy on me, O God) is one of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 50 (51), a song of repentance composed by King David after the prophet Nathan had confronted David with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband (Uriah the Hittite), which David had arranged. In the 1630's the Italian composer, Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652) wrote what is by far the most well known setting of Psalm 50 (51): The Miserere. It was composed for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the Tenebrae service on Holy Wednesday, and Good Friday of Holy Week.
MISERERE MEI, DEUS (from the Latin Vulgate Bible)
Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco:
et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci:
ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum:
et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti:
incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me hysopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus:
et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae:
et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies:
et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique:
holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus:
cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion:
ut aedificentur muri Ierusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes,
et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.
HAVE MERCY UPON ME, O GOD (from the Douay-Rheims Bible)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.
And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee:
that thou mayst be justified in thy words
and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities;
and in sins did my mother conceive me.
For behold thou hast loved truth:
the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom
thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed:
thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness:
and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create a clean heart in me, O God:
and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,
and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall extol thy justice.
O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it:
with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit:
a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion;
that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice,
oblations and whole burnt offerings:
then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.